STORRS, Conn. – UConn holds the majority on the espnW All-America First Team as Husky trio Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson claimed three out of five spots on the squad. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma was also tabbed espnW’s Coach of the Year on Thursday.
This season’s “Big Three” earns espnW’s All-American honor after helping the Huskies to another perfect regular season and a fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference championship title. The three were named All-Conference First Team, Naismith Trophy semifinalists and to the Wooden Award National Ballot within the past week. At the helm of Auriemma, UConn will enter the NCAA tournament riding its historic 107-game win streak and in search of its 12th national title. Washington’s Kelsey Plum and South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson rounded out the five First Team selections.
The American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Williams leads the team in assists (168) and steals (86) and is second in rebounds (8.4) and blocks (45). Williams recorded the fifth triple-double in UConn history at East Carolina on Jan. 24 when she put up 16 points and tied her career-highs in rebounds (16) and assists (10). The Sparks, Nev. native became the 43rd Husky to join UConn’s 1,000-point club after she shot a perfect 7-7 from the floor for 15 points against Temple on Feb. 22.
Currently second in the nation and first on the squad in field-goal percentage (68.9), Collier averages 20.2 points per contest and leads UConn in rebounds (8.9) and blocks (63). The American Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year, Collier put up a career-best 39 points in UConn’s regular season finale at USF. The O’Fallon, Mo. native was a unanimous selection to the espnW All-America First Team.
Coming off a historic 40-point performance, shooting a flawless 10-10 from three-point range, Samuelson leads the squad with 21.0 points per game. A unanimous selection to espnW All-America First Team, Samuelson is currently third in the nation with her 110 three-pointers made, which makes her only the fourth Husky all-time to nail 100 three-point field goals in one season. The American Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year eclipsed the 1,000-career-point milestone as a sophomore this season after registering 16 points in the regular season finale at USF.